Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

The possibility of a door left open: Leonard S. Marcus helps celebrate 50 years of children’s programming on MTPR

Critic, biographer, and historian Leonard S. Marcus.

This week on The Write Question, we’re celebrating 50 years of children’s programming on Montana Public Radio. During this episode, host Lauren Korn speaks with critic, biographer, and historian Leonard S. Marcus, one of the world’s leading writers and scholars on children’s books and the people who create them.

About Leonard:

Leonard S. Marcus has written over 25 award-winning books, including Margaret Wise Brown: Awakened by the Moon, Golden Legacy: The Story of Golden Books, Show Me a Story: Why Picture Books Matter and Pictured Worlds. A founding trustee of the Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art, Leonard writes for the New York Times Book Review, and teaches at New York University and the School of Visual Arts.

Books and authors mentioned in this episode:

Golden Legacy: The Story of Golden Books (Golden Books), Listening for Madeleine: A Portrait of Madeleine L’Engle in Many Voices (Farrar, Straus and Giroux), and Dear Genius: The Letters of Ursula Nordstrom (HarperCollins) by Leonard S. Marcus

Mitsumasa Anno, author and illustrator of picture books with few or no words

Where the Wild Things Are and The Nutshell Library by Maurice Sendak (HarperCollins)

Quentin Blake, illustrator of Roald Dahl novels (Viking Books)

Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown (HarperCollins)

James Marshall, author-illustrator of the George and Martha books and the illustrator of the Ms. Nelson (Viola Swamp) books (Clarion Books)

Stevie Smith, author of “Not Waving but Drowning” in All the Poems: Stevie Smith (New Directions)

Charlotte Zolotow, author of 75 picture books, including Mr. Rabbit and the Lovely Present (HarperCollins)

Leonard S. Marcus recommends:

Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown (HarperCollins)

Books written and illustrated by William Steig

Books written and illustrated by James Marshall (see links, above)

The Knuffle Bunny series by Mo Willems (Hyperion Books for Children)

Petit, the Monster by Isol (Groundwood Books, an imprint of House of Anansi Press)

Lauren Korn recommends:

Show Me a Story!: Why Picture Books Matter: Conversations with 21 of the World’s Most Celebrated Illustrators and You Can’t Say That!: Writers for Young People Talk about Censorship, Free Expression, and the Stories They Have to Tell by Leonard Marcus (Candlewick Press)

Andrea Long Chu’s profile on The Velveteen Rabbit in Vulture

Monsters: A Fan’s Dilemma by Claire Dederer (Alfred A. Knopf; particularly this chapter on J.K. Rowling)

Wild Things: The Joy of Reading Children’s Literature as an Adult by Bruce Handy (Simon & Schuster)

The Monster at the End of This Book by Jon Stone, illustrated by Michael Smollin (Golden Books)

Big Bird’s Red Book by Roseanne Cerf, illustrated by Michael Smollin (Golden Books)

How to Say Hello to a Worm: A First Guide to Outside by Keri Percival (Penguin Random House)

Love Grows Everywhere by Barry Timms, illustrated by Tisha Lee (Frances Lincoln Children’s Books)

Every Night is Pizza Night by J. Kenji López-Alt, illustrated by Gianna Ruggiero (W. W. Norton & Company)

The Magic School Bus series by Joanna Cole, illustrated by Bruce Degen (Scholastic Books)

Buffalo Woman and The Woman Who Loved Wild Horses by Paul Goble (Aladdin Paperbacks, an imprint of Simon & Schuster)

Frog and Toad series by Arnold Loebel (HarperCollins)

Amelia Bedelia; Boxcar Children; Nancy Drew; Roald Dahl;

Ramona the Pest by Beverly Cleary, illustrated by Louis Darling (HarperCollins); and The Art of Ramona Quimby: Sixty-Five Years of Illustrations from Beverly Cleary’s Beloved Books by Anna Katz (Chronicle Books)

The Write Question team for this episode was Lauren Korn, host, co-producer, and editor; and Chris Moyles, co-producer and editor. This episode is supported by Montana Book Co., located in downtown Helena, Montana, since 1978, offering new books for all ages, vinyl records, and community activism. For delivery in Helena and shipping online, visit

The Write Question logo and brand (2022) was designed by Molly Russell. You can see more of her work at and on Instagram @iamthemollruss. Our music was written and recorded by John Floridis.

Funding for The Write Question comes from Humanities Montana; members of Montana Public Radio; and from the Greater Montana Foundation—encouraging communication on issues, trends, and values of importance to Montanans.

The Write Question is a production of Montana Public Radio.

Stay Connected
Lauren R. Korn holds an M.A. in poetry from the University of New Brunswick, where she was the recipient of the Tom Riesterer Memorial Prize and the Angela Ludan Levine Memorial Book Prize. A former bookseller and the former Director of the Montana Book Festival, she is now an Arts and Culture Producer at Montana Public Radio and the host of it’s literature-based radio program and podcast, ‘The Write Question.’
Become a sustaining member for as low as $5/month
Make an annual or one-time donation to support MTPR
Pay an existing pledge or update your payment information
Related Content